Decluttering

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Kitchen and contents of cupboard under stairs

I rose very early this morning and completed the emptying of the cupboard under the stairs, carrying some items into the library, and littering the kitchen surfaces with others. Take no notice of the clock. The photograph was taken a bit later.

Jackie and I then began the process outlined yesterday by

Garrulous Gwendoline

I’m a good declutterer, and willing to travel if you provide the airfare 🙂
Suggest you start with the age-old trick . . . have I used this in the last year?
Then you could move on to – if I hold on to this, will I know where I put it if I ever do need it?
The four-box method is also useful. One for must keep, one for throw, one for thrift shop, one for not sure. Repeat the process with the fourth box until there is nothing left. Then go back to the first box and re-assess your choices.
You could also create a box for items to sell if you like eBay or such sites. Or have a collection of something that will sell at auctions (eg my brother’s Dinky Toys)
If you keep “special things” because of sentimental or other reasons, make sure you use them and don’t keep them for those special occasions that never roll around.
If something is beautiful but serves no purpose, and you decide to keep it because you get pleasure from seeing it, make sure you DO have it somewhere you can see it, and not packed away in a box.
And its helpful to designate a small area at a time to work on. The old, “break the overall project into small achievable goals” strategy.
Good luck.
ps – I’ll understand if you prefer the ironing 🙂
Cupboard under stairs
 Soon we had piles in the library and the beginnings of the most organised under the stairs cupboard ever.
Chicken doorstops
 Some objects, like these iron chicken doorstops bought for our Minstead flat, are destined to spend the rest of their lives as garden features.
Kitchen
 By this evening Jackie had her kitchen back, and was able, on the hobs, to produce   her tasty beef stew, boiled potatoes, carrots, and cabbage.  She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Wolf’s Leap merlot 2016. As I pulled out my dining chair, I narrowly avoiding sitting on a meat carving board destined for Oxfam that had been left thereon. Since it contained spikes that was probably just as well.

Terrifying Technology

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This morning we began the task of familiarising our new kitchen and slowly returning items to it.

Kitchen 1

Here is a reasonably complete view across the sink to the long work surface. To the left we have the fridge/freezer and ovens alongside the larder, opposite which are the induction hobs.

Fridge/freezer, ovens, cupboards

Alongside these latter is the small cupboard bearing Richard’s new door.

Dining areaSink and dining area

 

Looking across the sink area to the long window we have the dining table.

Jackie by bins

There is a cluster of waste bins under the sink.

I needed Jackie’s assistance to microwave my coffee this morning. She remembered this process, but found

Jackie with instruction books

the rest of the instruction booklets rather daunting.

Needless to say the room will now need expert decorating to do justice to the work of Kitchen Makers and Crestwood. We will have to wait for the money from France for that.

Much of the day was spent carrying items in from the library, wiping off the dust, and placing them in cupboards. We have decided to keep the free-standing Chinese cabinet in the kitchen in order to display the glasses. It also blends well with Richard’s oak shelving.

This evening we dined on a second helping of Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Concha y Toro.

Demolition

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This morning, Richard, Lee, and Ross from Kitchen Makers arrived on time and began taking apart our old kitchen.

Richard concentrated on the sink area, and on contemplation,

while the younger men chipped off old tiling, dismantled the cupboards, and carried the rubbish outside, ready to take it all away. Everything was cleared up as they went along.

When Richard adopted his contemplative pose concerning the floor, his colleagues claimed that this was his customary position on the job.

Light catcher and Ross

Anyone who has received a Pauline King light catcher will appreciate that she kept her eye on the proceedings.

Soon after midday we left them to it and joined Giles and Jean for lunch at Monsoori Heights in Milford on Sea. My main meal was king prawn vindaloo.  Jackie’s was paneer tika. We shared lemon rice, a plain paratha, and onion bahji. Jackie drank coffee and I drank Kingfisher.

Packing Up The Kitchen

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Shelf in Utility Room

This morning we began preparations for the kitchen work beginning on Monday. First, a table in the Utility Room was cleared to receive the electric kettle, toaster, and microwave during the two weeks the Culinary Queen will be deprived of other cooking facilities.

Then began the clearing of the cupboards and packing their contents into boxes Jackie has collected in recent weeks.

 

The containers were then transported to the Library.

This afternoon, I watched televised Six Nations rugby matches between Ireland and Italy, and between England and Wales.

The Culinary Queen has committed much of her creations to the freezer, but we were able to enjoy a second helping of yesterday’s beef in red wine this evening. I kept back a bottle of Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014 and made a start on that.

 

The Kitchen Garden

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Here is another look  at our existing kitchen.

The section alongside the hobs is effectively the Culinary Queen’s current work surface. As shown in ‘Before The Makeover 1’ the oven, microwave, and fan occupy the other side of the small area at the back. The shelves to the right of the picture occupy a former fireplace. So encrusted with caked on grime were these hobs that, when we moved in, we did not know they were induction. Neither did we know how to use them, nor that we would need new saucepans.

This is how lunch is prepared on this surface.

When the hobs are in use, as for cooking tonight’s jalfrezi, life becomes somewhat more complicated, chopping room being rather limited.

For Your Eyes Only pruned

One of Aaron’s tasks this morning had been to prune some of the roses, like the prolific For Your Eyes Only.

This afternoon I took a walk among the flora. The winter flowering cherry, the bergenia, the pansies, the cyclamens, the iris, and the vincas have been in evidence for a while. The little yellow bidens have continued to self seed since they first occupied the garden last Spring. The camellias are covered in buds, their first blooms having appeared in recent days. Jackie is particularly excited about the prospect of the Daphne odorata’s scents bursting from their expanding cases. One solitary Winchester Cathedral bloom stands tall in the Rose Garden.

With the aforementioned chicken jalfrezi, Jackie served her special savoury rice and Tesco’s pakoras and onion bahjis. As can be seen, she drank Hoegaarden. I drank more of the Malbec.

The Triangle

I spent the morning clearing the garage. First I finished removing the IKEA wardrobes; then garden tools went to the orange shed; Garden showing orang shedthen various other items went into the house. There are still a few tidy boxes of items from which younger homemakers may wish to take their pick.

Garage libraryOtherwise the room is ready for the books to be unpacked from storage boxes and settled on the IKEA Billy bookshelves. Probably about another dozen should suffice.Skip pile 1Skip pile 2

We now have two piles of debris for a skip.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Milford on Sea. The haze leant an atmospheric quality to the beach. Flo was unaware of the black-headed gull which I had panned as it flew towards her. She raised her head, across which blew her hair at the most opportune moment.

This evening all seemed right with the world. Jackie plucked up the courage to produce a full meal on the Neff hobs. This was her spaghetti bolognese, except for spaghetti read linguine. It was of her usual superb standard, and followed by microwaved  lemon drizzle pudding courtesy of Waitrose, served with Jackie’s own custard. I finished the Isla Negra.Flo & gullFlo among the rocks

During the past fortnight I have learned a new meaning for the word ‘triangle’. Martin Taylor had observed that there was no triangle in the kitchen. Jackie had concurred, and has, at moments of stress since, mentioned the fact in her usual calm, collected, way.

I was a little bemused at this, for to me a triangle belonged in a primary school band. This was the instrument entrusted to me at St Mary’s on some auspicious occasion in my early years, possibly because it was considered I could do least damage to the performance with it, and they didn’t want me to suffer the ignominy of being left out. I remember being rather puzzled when I was told to bash it with a metal rod thingy at certain regular intervals. I’m not sure my sense of timing was particularly unerring.

Surely there was no place for one in a kitchen?

I was, of course on the wrong track altogether. The triangle in a kitchen, you see, is composed of lines linking cooker, cupboards, and sink. You are meant to be able to stand in the middle and reach any one of these easily from the same spot. In our kitchen, by swivelling at will, you can just about reach cooker or hobs and a selection of cupboards rather too low for the elderly. Water is, however, a problem. To get to that from either of the other two sides of the triangle you must walk around the island. Jackie doesn’t appreciate the exercise. And refers to the fact. Quite often.